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Topics - HopelessNightOwl

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Trollpastas Only / Liberty's Kids Lost Episode
« on: 04:08:58 AM 07/21/18 »
when I was in elementary school, I was a big history buff. Still am, but back then I was really obsessed. I was especially interested in Colonial history and the American War for Independence. I was that kid who, when we had a unit on the Revolutionary War in fifth grade, was way ahead of the curve and eager to show off my knowledge.

I read many revolutionary war bios, fascinated by historical figures on both sides of the war. I'll give you one guess as to who I dressed up as for Halloween in fourth grade. Ready? That's right, George Washington. Actually no, that would be way too obvious and plebe for a true history geek like me. Some dumb kid who didn't even know Washington's date of death could have thrown together a powdered wig and Colonial waistcoat.

Actually, I dressed as a Hessian. I know they were on the side of the "bad guys" during the war but even as a kid I knew history isn't all black and white and besides, the Hessians had really cool uniforms. My classmates just thought I was doing Halloween as a "soldier", but man did I look sharp. My costume wasn't completely authentic in every detail of course, but I made it myself and I think I did pretty well.

I was initially afraid that everyone would laugh at me for being such a nerd and collectively hang me from the flag pole in my underwear, but actually everyone was really impressed and I won the best homemade costume prize.


I'm telling you all this so you know why as a kid as was a huge fan of Liberty's Kids. For those who don't know, Liberty's Kids was a cartoon made in 2002 by DiC. The show features James, an apprentice journalist working for Benjamin Franklin's newspaper, Sarah, a stuffy British aristocrat girl, and Henry, a mentally challenged French orphan who also works at the newspaper. Also there's a cool black guy named Moses who mentors them while Dr. Franklin is off in France trying to underhandedly convince Louis the 14th to shed France's blood and treasure for a cause they have no stake in.

The show has James, Sarah, and Henry going around recording real historical events for Franklin's paper and meeting real historical figures from both sides of the war. What I especially liked about the show was that they didn't just give one side of things. Often, the British and the Hessians were almost as sympathetic as the Continentals, and the show made it clear that the Americans weren't always morally pure either. Plus, I Sarah was like my first waifu or whatever.


Also, the show clearly had a big budget for an educational cartoon. The production values were high for the time (I mean not like compared to Disney movies but for a TV show the animation was really good), the soundtrack was awesome (though Aaron carter's rap verse in the theme song was pretty cringey), and they had like 80 something A-list celebrities doing voices of historical figures. They also promoted the show at the Captital 4th of July celebration and a bunch of schools used it in their curriculum. I don't know if it was that people felt the need to promote patriotism the year after 9/11 or what, but someone in a high position clearly made sure this show was the best it could be and got all the resources the animators needed.

The show was so good and captivating that of course most PBS stations stopped airing if in like a yer or two. I guess since it was based on real events they coulnd't make more than one season and they thought kids would get bored of it (which I can understand, but even so the one season had like 40 episodes). They replaced it with one of those stupid new PBS shows like Word Girl or something and the only reason kids are still exposed to it is because a lot of teachers still use it in lectures.

I got over my Revolutionary War craze by 6th grade, but my interest in history remained, I just moved on to other topics of interest. However, when I was a senior in high school, I found a box set of Liberty's Kids a thrift shop. I didn't even know they had a box set. I bought the set on a nostalgic whim (I could have just watched the episodes for free on Youtube but whatever).

As soon as I started watching the show, I was overcome with nostalgic glee. I watched all 40 episodes over spring break, but on the final disc, there was a listing for "Yotrktown Episode Recut".

Curious, I decided to watch it. The recut episode opened with then-POTUS Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, which I thought was weird because the show was made when Bush was President. They were sitting on a couch like when Ronald and Nancy Reagan did those anti-drug things.

"Hello, I'm President Barack Hussein Obama", said Obama. "Today we have a very special episode of Liberty's Kids."

He then went on to ramble about how he and Michelle were concerned about how kids in America today took their liberty's for granted and how this recut episode might change their perspective or something.

The recut episode was the one dealing with the Battle of Yorktown, the last major engagement of the Revolutionary War. In it, British General Charles Cornwallis, expecting Washington to attack New York, was defeated by American and French forces at land and sea in-you know what who cares. Anyway, the episode was normal until about halfway through, when instead of attacking Yorktown, Washington insisted on seizing New York, which he had already tried and failed early in the war. Most of his generals including the commander of the French troops were opposed to the idea, but Washington was firm.

They attacked New York and lost badly. In the next scene, Washington was shown being hanged for treason, along with several other Founding Fathers. The most disturbing part was that unlike in the episode about Nathen Hale, where they just cut the scene after he spoke his famous last words, without actually showing him being hanged even off-screen, here Washingon and his comrades were hanged on-screen in a graphic fashion. I think a couple of them even foamed at the mouth and had nerve spasms.

If that wasn't disturbing enough, the next scene was real-life footage of my high school. Only some things had changed. I started to get the point when I saw that on the flag pole, instead of Old Glory, there was the Butcher's Apron Union Jack. I watched in horror as students were eating fish and chips for lunch. Instead of saying the Pledge of Allegiance, they sang "God Save the Queen". It was horrible. The school, which is one of the like 30 thousand or something high schools in the US named after Thomas Jefferson, was now named Arnold Secondary School, for reasons I'm sure you can guess by now. And at the homecoming game, instead of American football, they were playing cricket. And the marching and concert bands, they were now dressed like Grenadier Guards and had been reorganized into a fife and drum corps, a stripped-down brass and horn section, and a pipe band, complete with kilts. On the plus side they could actually keep in step now, played music that didn't suck, played actual marches instead of just a couple Sousa pieces followed by the school fight song and a bunch of obnoxious alt-rock covers, and had a drum section that actually complemented the music instead of being annoying and clashing. Also our cricket team beat the other school by like 20 points, and this was a big rival school that we hadn't ever beaten in real life for like ten years, so yeah.


But anyway, they show then cut to Daily Mail TV, and the host was talking about how Cher Lloyd now held the record for longest number of weeks at the number 1 spot on Billboard Hot 100. In fact all the major music stars seemed to be bad Europop. But on the other hand, country music didn't seem to exist anymore, so, there's that.

But it wasn't all superficial stuff like what I've mentioned so far. I could at least deal with all that stuff, but they also showed citizens getting arrested for criticizing the government because the First Amendment didn't exist and having their houses searched without warrents. Then it showed me being arrested for something I didn't do and thrown in prison without due process.

At that point I passed out, and while I was out I had a dark dream about teaming up with my classmates to fight the 21st century British tyrants Red Dawn style. When I came to, the box set was now a box set for Dowton Abbey. Had I dreamed the whole thing and bought Dowton Abbey by mistake. I guess I'll never know. But at least I have a Dowton Abbey box set and I have to admit that while the show is pretty dull for the first few episodes it does grow on you.

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Your Stories / Letter to the Editor, June 2004
« on: 03:46:37 AM 07/21/18 »
To The Editor:

I disagree with the school board’s decision to demolish the Baumer Auditorium.  The auditorium is still a perfectly functional venue and, unfortunately, one of the only real assets we have to attract families to this district.

The board claims the decision stems from the damage sustained in last year’s fire as well as budget overruns and the age of the structure.  But why tear it down entirely?  Why was the proposal for a bond issue to fix the damage immediately shot down?  The fire only damaged a small portion of the complex, and it was determined that the safety of the building will not have been compromised if the damage is simply fixed.  And in my opinion, the budget problems are only an issue due to the principles of capacity and opportunity cost: we simply haven't been using the auditorium enough to justify its expenditures in the eyes of the board.  Rather than tear the place down, we should just repair the existing damage and make a push to use the auditorium to its full potential.

I have talked to many folks who agree with me, including several teachers, but not many seem willing to fight the board’s decision, and I think I know why.  I get it, the disappearances, the memories. The board claims that the missing kids have nothing to do with their decision to close the auditorium, but I think the community knows better.  And that’s honestly one of the reasons I think the auditorium should be left standing.  I know it has been six years, but many are still not satisfied with the investigation that was done.  One of my friends is the aunt of one of the missing kids, and she wants to keep the auditorium because there could be more evidence to discover.

Many are still deeply frustrated with the Superintendent’s obstinance when it comes to looking into their concerns.  By the way he reacted, you would think he thought five kids vanishing while backstage for a few minutes during a school musical was a normal occurrence.  Granted, he was cooperative enough with the police investigation (not that he really had much of a choice), but during the lawsuit by the families, in my opinion he was borderline obstructing the judicial process, as if the auditorium was his own private property.  I’ll never forget the disgusting editorial he wrote to this publication basically telling the families and the community that the case was cold and they needed to get over it.

And let's not forget that the disappearances during that play were not the only ones associated with the auditorium.  Many probably don’t remember, but five years prior a high school student went missing from the parking lot after helping to set up for an event, and while the place was being renovated two years prior to that, there was an abduction in the adjacent housing development.  All these things add up to at least a reasonable demand that more investigation be done.

But all this is perhaps somewhat beside the point.  There is no need to get rid of the auditorium.  The fire damage can be repaired, and while I understand the concerns about more disappearances, we need to remember that the auditorium may be our best hope for finding those kids.  Ultimately, we need more transparency and accountability from the board.

-Anonymous

Editor’s Note: Due to the sensitive and accusatory remarks in this letter, the Superintendent and members of the board were invited for commentary and rebuttal before this issue was printed, but they have declined.

Two paragraphs from the original submitted version of this piece have been redacted due to our policy against defamatory statements, hearsay concerning private conversations, etc.

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